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Guiding your teen to choose a career they love

By Rynae Golke, Human Resources Manager, CHI St. Alexius Health Dickinson

Perhaps it seems like just yesterday that your children were young, asking you to kiss their boo-boos and leaving handprints on the wall. But here you are – watching your child make some of the most important decisions of his or her life as they explore potential colleges and careers – and wondering how to add value without imposing.

A few of the ways you can add value as a parent include sharing diverse occupational experiences, asking questions that encourage self-reflection, and leveraging occupational exploration tools.

Sharing occupational experiences

Many college students enter a degree program only to learn during observation hours that the reality of that career doesn’t align with their initial perceptions. Because of these common misconceptions about work, an estimated 75% of students change their major at least once, leading to increased expenses and decreased morale.

You can help your child explore career options by leveraging relationships with local friends and businesses to provide diverse experiences and insights. Work with us at CHI St. Alexius Health to give your son or daughter exposure to a wide range of exciting healthcare careers; connect with a friend at the bank to offer a day in financing, or bring your child to work to give them a taste of your typical day at the office.

By increasing their exposure early, you may be able to decrease your child’s risk of investing in a career that isn’t right for them.

Asking questions for self-reflection

Teens aren’t known for seeking advice from mom and dad (and unsolicited advice isn’t always welcome). Asking questions for self-reflection can be a great way to lead your child to make decisions that support the future they want without imposing your beliefs on them.

Questions to ask include:

  • What led you to consider this career choice?
  • What is the outlook for this career?
  • What kind of organizations hire candidates with this degree?
  • What geographic regions hire candidates with this degree?
  • What kind of scheduling requirements are common for people in this field?
  • What are your personal goals (marriage, kids, travel, etc.)?
  • Does this career align well with your personal goals?
  • What lifestyle are you hoping to achieve?
  • Does the compensation for careers like this support the lifestyle you hope to sustain?
  • What disadvantages come with a career like this?
  • What are the minimum requirements for most jobs in this field? Will you need any additional certifications or experience in order to get your foot in the door after graduation?

Leveraging tools and resources

Finally, encourage your son or daughter to take an inventory online or through their school, which can help them identify the fields in which they have the most interest and skill. A common free tool called My Next Move is offered by o*net ( and can help your young adult narrow down their options by interest level and the level of preparation they’re willing to do.

For better exposure to healthcare careers – which have the highest outlook of all career fields – contact CHI St. Alexius Health Dickinson today at 701-456-4000.

Written by Rynae Golke


Human Resources Manager, CHI St. Alexius Health Dickinson

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